It’s Cheaper Than Driving To The Mail Box
Billions wasted on UN climate programme
Energy firms routinely abusing carbon offset fund, US studies claim
Billions of pounds are being wasted in paying industries in developing countries to reduce climate change emissions, according to two analyses of the UN’s carbon offsetting programme.
Leading academics and watchdog groups allege that the UN’s main offset fund is being routinely abused by chemical, wind, gas and hydro companies who are claiming emission reduction credits for projects that should not qualify. The result is that no genuine pollution cuts are being made, undermining assurances by the UK government and others that carbon markets are dramatically reducing greenhouse gases, the researchers say.
The criticism centres on the UN’s clean development mechanism (CDM), an international system established by the Kyoto process that allows rich countries to meet emissions targets by funding clean energy projects in developing nations.
Exemptions for Charities Face New Challenges
RED WING, Minn. – Authorities from the local tax assessor to members of Congress are increasingly challenging the tax-exempt status of nonprofit institutions
– ranging from small group homes to wealthy universities – questioning whether they deserve special treatment.
One issue is the growing confusion over what constitutes a charity at a time when nonprofit groups look more like businesses, charging fees and selling products and services to raise money, and state and local governments are under financial pressure because of lower tax revenues.
And there are others: Does a nonprofit hospital give enough charity care to earn a tax exemption? Is a wealthy university providing enough financial aid?
An Iron Procession of Honor
Rolling Thunder Riders Reflect on Comrades Lost and Those Still to Be Found
Here came the noise, the gut-shaking roar of Rolling Thunder, motorcycles by the hundreds upon hundreds throttling along Constitution Avenue NW past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial yesterday as thousands more bikers lining the street cheered and revved their engines on a cloudless, summery afternoon.
Like the Fourth of July fireworks on the Mall, like the lightings of the National Christmas Tree and Menorah, the deafening growl of Harley-Davidsons on Memorial Day weekend has become a holiday tradition in Washington — a gathering to honor the nation’s veterans and, at the same time, celebrate an attitude of nonconformity.
Japan has first European sumo champion
It took just a few seconds of breathless grappling and an almighty final heave. But once that was done, Japan had a new sumo champion. And for the first time, he was European.
As soon as he sent his opponent crashing to the ground in Tokyo on Saturday, Kotooshu, a Bulgarian sumo wrestler, had won the Emperor’s Cup, the biggest prize in the 2,000-year-old sport.
As his fans celebrated and the Bulgarian president, Georgi Parvanov, sent off a congratulatory letter, sumo traditionalists were left to rue another tournament in which Japanese wrestlers failed to make an impact. But while the purists wince, the 25-year-old is a popular figure whose success may give the ancient sport the boost it needs. The former French president, Jacques Chirac, requested a meeting when he visited Japan, and last year the EU made him a goodwill ambassador.
Afghan prison nightmare may be coming to an end for Pervez
By Kim Sengupta in Kabul
Monday, 26 May 2008
His surroundings are grim and forbidding, a Kabul prison thronged with desperate humanity. But Sayed Pervez Kambaksh believes his long nightmare is almost over.
The 24-year-old student, sentenced to death for downloading internet reports on women’s rights, is allowing himself to be hopeful for the first time since he was condemned.
“I really did not believe that I would survive for this long, I thought that they would make sure I would disappear, I would be killed. I was abused and beaten after being arrested,” he said yesterday. “But now I think they will overturn this wrong verdict and I can get out of this place and start again.”
Fury over Berlusconi’s bid to solve rubbish crisis
By Peter Popham in Rome
Monday, 26 May 2008
The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, faces the first real test of his new government after his demand for a speedy end to Naples’s interminable rubbish wars was greeted at the weekend with violent clashes and a call to arms by residents of the areas chosen for new dumps.
Communities targeted by the government for 10 new rubbish dumps vented their anger when the list was made public: they fear they will pay a high price in environmental damage for the solution to the region’s chronic refuse problem.
Mob of Nazi youths goes on immigrant rampage in ‘tolerant’ Rome
Balaclava-clad gangs, some wearing bandanas emblazoned with swastikas, smashed shop windows with iron bars and baseball bats and beat up shopkeepers in a hitherto bohemian neighbourhood of Rome.
Members of the gangs shouted “Get out, bastard foreigners” as they attacked Bengali shopkeepers in the explosion of xenophobic violence.
Gianni Alemanno, the capital’s new right-wing Mayor, condemned the attacks, which took place in the eastern suburb of Pigneto, an area with a reputation for tolerance, on Saturday night.
Robert Mugabe threatens to expel US Ambassador
Jan Raath in Harare
President Mugabe threatened to expel the US Ambassador yesterday after accusing him of interfering in domestic politics and promised to give land to Zimbabweans fleeing xenophobic violence in South Africa.
“I am just waiting to see if he makes one more step wrong. He will get out,” Mr Mugabe told a rally as he stepped up campaigning for a second-round run-off in presidential elections. “As tall as he is, if he continues to do that I will kick him out of the country.”
Mr Mugabe accused James McGee of meddling after the US Ambassador publicly called on Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, to return home to contest the run-off on June 27.
Burundi, rebels repledge peace
BUJUMBURA, Burundi – A joint statement by the Burundi government and the country’s last remaining rebel group says the two sides have signed a “cessation of hostilities.”
The statement says Monday’s pact has been signed by Evariste Ndayishiniye for the government and National Liberation Force spokesman Pasteur Habimana.
Iraqi military says al-Qaida is fleeing Mosul
U.S. remains cautious about security gains amid fears militants may regroup
BAGHDAD – Al-Qaida fighters and other Sunni insurgents have largely scattered from the northern city of Mosul in the face of a U.S.-Iraqi sweep, fleeing to desert areas further south, an Iraqi commander said Sunday. He vowed the forces will not allow them to regroup.
The U.S. military said al-Qaida in Iraq was “off-balance and on the run” but remains a very lethal threat, tempering remarks by the U.S. ambassador a day earlier that the terror network was closer than ever to being defeated.
Carter urges ‘supine’ Europe to break with US over Gaza blockade
Ex-president says EU is colluding in a human rights crime
Britain and other European governments should break from the US over the international embargo on Gaza, former US president Jimmy Carter told the Guardian yesterday. Carter, visiting the Welsh border town of Hay for the Guardian literary festival, described the EU’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as “supine” and its failure to criticise the Israeli blockade of Gaza as “embarrassing”.
Referring to the possibility of Europe breaking with the US in an interview with the Guardian, he said: “Why not? They’re not our vassals. They occupy an equal position with the US.”
Mexico’s War Against Drugs Kills Its Police
MEXICO CITY – The assassination was an inside job.
The federal police commander kept his schedule secret and slept in a different place each night, yet the killer had the keys to the official’s apartment and was waiting for him when he arrived after midnight.
When the commander, Commissioner Édgar Millán Gómez, the acting chief of the federal police, died with eight bullets in his chest on May 8, it sent chills through a force that had increasingly found itself a target.